What She Said! Part 1: Undeniable Exile
By Lisa McHeard, Guest Writer
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. -1 Peter 1:1 ESV
From the first moment of Creation, it was clear that God made Adam and Eve for eternity. He fashioned them after his own immortal image, created a completely perfect home for them, and provided the Tree of Life to nourish the seed of eternity he planted in them. Then sin changed things. In one misguided decision to distrust, Adam and Eve sacrificed the glorious freedom of eternity for the bondage of a mortal life. A single moment predestined every subsequent generation to live as slaves to sin. Mankind became children of earth, rather than children of God.
At the start, Adam and Eve were caretakers of Creation, with a heavenly assignment. God set safe boundaries for plants, animals, and man. All they had to do was stay within those boundaries. Temptation revealed itself in the desire to reach across for something that wasn’t theirs. They touched the only forbidden thing in the Garden and ignored God’s loving limits. That very moment, God’s precious created ones became exiles.
And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain, you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.”
Genesis 3:17-19 ESV
The eternal God would not be constrained by earthly restraints or the consequences of sin, and neither did he want his created ones irreversibly bound. The failure of man set off God’s eternal plan for his redemption. The promised sacrifice of the Messiah was, in effect, the Hand of God reaching down to offer sin’s exiles hope and fresh access to their intended home. Those who grabbed hold became eternally free again. They were immediately transformed from cursed inhabitants of the earth to liberated sojourners scattered throughout a strange country on their way to a better, more permanent place prepared for them by God.
Peter addressed his first epistle to such sojourners, our older brothers and sisters, who first had faith to grab the Eternal Hand of God. These heroes of grace plotted the road back to eternity for us; rejecting the earthbound steps of Adam for the heavenly steps of grace mapped for them by the precious feet of Christ.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. -Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
As a little girl, I used to love stepping in my Grandpa’s footprints. There was something so comforting about seeing my tiny foot surrounded by the outline of his great big one. I never doubted that he knew where he was going, and I never hesitated to follow. I get even more comfort from knowing that Jesus has left footprints for me to step in as I follow the path of Grace. Look for his footprints as you walk today. Then have the faith to place your feet directly in them. Allow yourself to experience the comfort of knowing that he has gone before you and knows the way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa McHeard serves as Women’s Ministry Coordinator for the New York State Presbytery of the PCA. She loves writing and is presently completing a devotional on the Gospel of Mark. Lisa is married to Ken McHeard, senior pastor of Duanesburg Reformed Presbyterian Church, where she serves joyfully at his side.
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